Running... One of Life's Natural Highs

  • 3 min read

A few years ago, I became a runner. Never into exercise in the traditional form, prior to running, the last real exercise I got was playing basketball in my 20s (I’m 41 now).

Oddly, what got me into running, was when my friend Calvin approached me about being a part of a feature for his new brand, Hill City, featuring regular people doing cool things. My cool thing was Church - Church California and Church Barber. Hill City was an active brand who made exceptionally cool clothing for people who lead an active lifestyle.

The catch was, I wasn’t active at all. I told him that, and Calvin said that was fine :). Once we began working on the project, I was suddenly swarmed by packages of sick Hill City clothing, including tons of running gear that I had no business owning.

One day, I decided to try out those running clothes. I went for a one mile run, and was toast a few blocks in. Determined not to quit that easily, I made myself a bit of a pact - that I would run every day, even if it meant I’d end up walking half way. Days of splitting running and walking eventually lead to more days of running more than walking, and as my endurance built up, I found I could now run 2 miles without stopping to walk. Then 3 miles. Then 4. Now I average about 5 miles each run, and run about 4-5 times a week. Every now and then I’ll even do a long run, 8 miles or more. If you’d have told me I could run 8 miles without stopping to walk when I first started, I wouldn’t have believed it.

One of the reasons running became a fit for me, was something referred to as a “runner’s high”. After about a mile or so of running (it’s unique to everyone I suppose), your lungs suddenly open up, your joints get loose, and your head gets “lighter” (due to a endorphin rush received during intense exercise) - you just run, and it’s actually enjoyable! You feel like you could run forever, your feet and legs are light, and breathing comes naturally. It’s a sensation that once you feel it, makes you crave it. Now a days, a day I don’t run, isn’t as full as a day I do.

That said, some days I still need a bit of motivation to get going. One thing that gets me out the door is music. Pairing music with running is all about finding tracks with a BPM (beats per minute) that line up with the right SPM (steps per minute) for a proper run.

Around the time the pandemic first started, Hill City created a Virtual Run Club, which encouraged their followers and customers to run and share their mileage on IG. Me and Calvin teamed up again to create a playlist for the run club, based upon that principle of linking BPM to SPM, called “10K”.

 Church Barber’s shop manager (and one of my best friends), Joaquin and I decided to run San Francisco's Bay to Breakers this year (2022), a 7.5 mile run that starts downtown and runs right by Church Barber en route to Ocean Beach. We created another playlist around the same format of matching SPM to BPM, and named it “Bay to Breakers” (you can’t always think of a catchy name).

Joaquin crossing the finish line, and enjoying an ice cold beer after: 

bay to breakers finish line




P.S. Here's the Hill City Feature: 

Ryan Gonzalez | Hill City from Hill City on Vimeo.